…By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
Lawmakers in Iraqi Kurdistan’s parliament engaged in a physical altercation on Monday, as a dispute between the region’s two largest parties escalated over the mechanics of upcoming elections.
Videos shared online depicted legislators climbing on desks and tearing up papers, while other footage showed lawmakers exchanging punches.
Anarchy in the Parliament:
The scenes of chaos unfolded during a session, with lawmakers from different parties involved in the confrontation.
Ziad Jabbar, the house leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), described the situation as anarchy and accused members of the opposing bloc of attacking his party’s members.
During a press conference, Jabbar revealed that he had bloodstains on his shirt due to a blow to the head during the fracas.
Background on Election Disputes:
Originally scheduled for late 2022, the elections in Iraqi Kurdistan were postponed due to ongoing disputes between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK, the two leading parties in the region.
The parliament extended its mandate for an additional year.
The upcoming elections for the 111-seat parliament are now planned for November 18, 2023.
Currently, the KDP holds 45 seats, with the PUK following closely with 21 seats.
Trigger for the Turmoil:
The recent tumult erupted when the KDP called for a vote to activate the commission responsible for organizing the elections.
PUK lawmakers sought to postpone the vote, with each side accusing the other of procedural irregularities.
According to Jabbar, the KDP’s refusal to adjourn the parliamentary session heightened tensions and led to the chaotic situation.
The Iraqi Kurdistan parliament witnessed a violent confrontation as lawmakers from rival parties clashed over the preparations for the upcoming elections.
The incident highlights the deepening divisions and tensions between the KDP and PUK.
With the election date set for November, the region faces a significant challenge in maintaining political stability amidst the ongoing disputes.
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